admin's picture

By Frederica Elbourne

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 4, 2002 – Fiji Times)---A group of landowners has agreed to allow farmers on their land, to continue to use it when the leases expire.

Landowners, at a meeting at Sorokoba, Ba yesterday, urged the experienced Indian farmers leasing native land to stay on and use the land. The meeting was attended by farmers and the Tui Ba, Ratu Sairusi Nagagavoka.

Ratu Sairusi said the benefits of the sugar industry would not be as successful if the Fijians took back their land when leases expire. He agreed that landowners were not as successful as their Indian counterparts.

"If they can't look after their land, let the Indians continue to use it because they know best how to work it for themselves and for us, the owners, for the industry and the economy,'' said Ratu Sairusi.

He said the decision was unanimous.

"People are willing to give their land for the Indians to use,'' he said.

Ratu Sairusi said it was the first meeting and more would follow. "It doesn't end here. There's a lot more work to be done,'' he said.

"We plan to hold more meetings to help resolve the relationship problem between the two major races,'' said Ratu Sairusi.

"Many of our national problems have been looked at from a political viewpoint,'' he said.

"And because political parties tend to run along ethnic lines, the views are often seen to represent positions held by the respective communities.

"With reference to the land in Fiji, these opposing views have led to polarized communities and take us further away from finding mutual solutions.''

Representatives of the Citizens Constitutional Forum were also present at the meeting.

For additional reports from the Fiji Times, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Fiji Times.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment